METALLICA's JAMES HETFIELD: 'People Always Complain About Something'

December 8, 2008

Fish Griwkowsky of the Sun Media recently conducted an interview with METALLICA guitarist/vocalist James Hetfield. A couple of excerpts from the chat follow below.

Sun Media: How do you react to the fact fans are saying this is the best album in years, maybe decades? You're not taking it as an insult?

James: It's kinda good. No, there's plenty of other things to consider as insults. We feel good about every record, but this one seems to be getting extra good response. With (2003's) "St. Anger", time will tell. Not to consider us like LED ZEPPELIN or anything, but the third ZEP album they were talking smack about, but now it's one of my favorite. Time will tell. It has to erase all the other stuff attached to it. Like "Load" and the (semen and blood) photos. And "St. Anger" and the whole movie about the collapse of METALLICA. This one, right out the gate. Pretty amazed.

Sun Media: How much did Rick Rubin as a producer have to do with that, bringing back the solos and long songs?

James: He had a lot to do with making us feel like it was OK. A lot of our fears about not progressing as a band were showing. Don't look back, because that's the sign of failure. Resting on your laurels, sitting fat on the couch. Along the way we forgot some of the essential tools that make us unique. He helped us embrace our past. Lars (Ulrich) and I have always been battling. I'd rather have a shorter song, say the same amount in a shorter sentence. If an eight-minute song sounds like it's 10 minutes, there's a problem.

Sun Media: I like "All Nightmare Long" the most of the new batch. Who are you hunting in it?

James: I like to keep it as vague as possible, so it can plug into your life. It almost didn't make it. The chorus is a leftover from "St. Anger". It was an attempt to get back to the H.P. Lovecraft mythos with "The Thing that Should not Be", "The Call of Ktulu". This was about the hounds of Tindalos, which was another crazy mindf--- about these wolves that hunt through their nightmares and the only way you can get away from them is stay with angels. You can't even escape through sleep.

Sun Media: Do you think people forget that you are an artist, down deep. You have something to say.

James: We're a big, easy target. 'Cause of Napster. 'Cause of the movie. Things people can easily throw darts at. I'll sit and talk about the feeling of going onstage and what a high it is for me, the new high, and the respect people pay you by coming out to see us live, in weather like this. And you get a kid on his deathbed and his one thing is he wants to meet METALLICA — and you go "F---, yeah." We do this because we feel it. People always complain about something. If you face yourself and stand up strong, you're OK. You can't go wrong.

Read the entire interview from Sun Media.

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